For our weekend pleasure, I would like to take you on a journey to a place that most people will not go. We will go via this blog and video to Valaam and the archipelago of monks who live and worship there today.
Valamo Monastery is a Russian Orthodox monastery in Russian Karelia, located on Valaam, the largest island in Lake Ladoga, which is the largest lake in Europe. The monastery of Valaam has a unique tradition of singing, called the Valaam chant, that combines some features of Byzantine and Znamenny chants.
For all Christians everywhere, the life of faith is a journey. It may be hard for some believers to understand the various forms of Christian worship and the interpretation of the Holy Life. Just as there are differences in worship between the various Protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic or Anglican liturgy, all study the Holy Scriptures and live their lives accordingly. One may question if these men of the monasteries understand grace…and grace alone. Do they believe that their lives of dedication is a type of works that will gain them eternal life? I would pray that they understand that Christ has done all there is to do for our salvation and faith in Him is the way and only way of eternal life. There are no works that can save. Nevertheless, the brotherhood, obedience, and beauty of their worship service
One may question if these men of the monasteries understand grace…and grace alone for salvation? Do they believe that their life of dedication is a type of works that will gain them eternal life? I would pray that they understand that Christ has done all there is to do for our salvation. His death on the cross paid the entire price for sin. Nevertheless, the brotherhood, obedience, and beauty of their worship service is all to be admired. Their spiritual life of prayer is their gift to the world. There is a restfulness and peace about their dedicated lives. Prayer is extremely important to them as it should be to all Christians.
While the lake is frozen, the monks work at their assigned jobs, pray and meditate. When the lake thaws, they welcome the world with its pain and sorrows. They become a sounding board for the weary of life, sick and discouraged. Even those who may be oppressed or possessed by evil, come to the monastery for relief. Young people, often from orphanages, come to draw strength for their everyday lives of temptations.
The gentleman who visits the monastery is looking to talk again with Father Seraphim, whom he visited 20 years before. The Father explains that their mission is to pray nightly for the world that is “upside down”. It is a blessing and relief to know that Christians in remote places are praying for a world that so desperately needs God’s help. Thank you, Monks of Valaam.
The video (with English subtitles) gives insight into the ancient Christian traditions and the priests of today who live and worship in the Valaam Monastery in frozen Russia. (Suggestion: If the video is too long for your period of time to view, simply pause, minimize and go back to it for another segment. You will be blessed.)